Design Classic – Cocoa Eyes

Back in the late noughties when I first started reading blogs, in particular interior blogs like Apartment Therapy, Decor8 and Design Sponge etc, the Keep Calm poster was everywhere.

Fast forward to 2014 and the bloggers favourite words of wisdom in the form of a print has all but disappeared (overkill maybe?) These days blogland is currently obsessed with house plants, that moon postermacrame wall hangings, the Its Ok banner and everything yellow.

All things that I heartily approve of.

However, I do try to not let myself get too influenced by the internet trends, overwise this would happen – A) I would be broke after spending a fortune on Etsy and vintage stuff. B) My house would be filled to the brim with lots of bad half finished DIY projects involving neon washi tape and gold spray paint. C) My house would sort of look like everybody else’s on the internet.

Image from Someform.com. Original sources linked in post.

Image from Someform.com. Original sources linked in post.

However……I really want this poster! Maybe you have spotted this distinctive poster around the internet and in interior magazines from time to time. Its a bit of a strange poster really, just two staring eyes on a plain background. But the clean lines and simplicity of this print really appeal to me. The more I see it, the more I like it. It has really grown on me!

Image from apartmenttherapy.com

Image from mamamekko.blogspot.uk

Image from mamamekko.blogspot.uk

I think it would look perfect hanging in our bedroom. (Full tour coming…..you guessed it soon!!)

Recently I finally discovered the name of this poster. By discovered, I really mean that I read it on a blog. Its Cocoa Eyes by Swedish graphic designer Olle Eskell. I did some further research and discovered that was designed by him in 1954 for a Swedish Cocoa company.

So yeah, designed in the 1950’s and graphic. What more could I want? Its perfect for our home!

P.S Check out this Pinterest board!

Slow Cooking Sunday – Squash, Sweet Potato and Harissa Soup

Before I start this post, I would like to say that I am available to hire for food styling and food photography. Look at my mad skillz below! So much effort with the sprig of parsley, eh!

Wow, its been a while since I last posted a slow cooker recipe. I still use my slow cooker regularly, I just don’t bother to photograph and blog the meals. Plus most meals are unphotogenic slop.

I bought this book for cheaps recently, and it has some great soup recipes in it. Here is my recipe for a tasty soup which I have slightly adapted from a recipe published in it.soupySquash, Sweet Potato and Harissa Soup

Ingredients
1 chopped onion
1 chopped stick of celery
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoons of harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like things!)
Around half a large squash
2-3 sweet potatoes
1 chopped carrot
700ml-1 litre vegetable stock (I used boullion powder)

Method
Put all the ingredients into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Once cooked blend with a hand blender until smooth and serve.
Serves 4-6
soupy soupy

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope you are all enjoying lots and lots of chocolate. I am, thats for sure!*

Just to celebrate spring and Easter, here is a picture of some cheery yellow tulips in a West German vase that matches the pot I inherited from my grandparents house. Yup, I saw it cheap on ebay and I just had to have it! It looks good on the Gplan eh?tuliptulip lip*Remember kids, chocolate is for life. Not just for Easter.

Parsnip and Banana Cake

My parents gave me a big bag full of parsnips recently that they had grown on their allotment. Thanks to their generosity and green fingered skills we have been eating well lately. I have made the obligatory parsnip soup, a sunday roast with lots of roast parsnips and yet more parsnip soup (I love homemade soup!)

The other day I still had a few left over parsnips, plus a few sad manky brown bananas in my fruit bowl waiting for me to take them to the compost bin, when I suddenly had one of those hey presto moments and thought to myself – boom! Lets make a parsnip and banana cake!

I did a quick Google and found a few recipes online, but in the end I made my own version based on the recipe for carrot cake from my favourite vintage cookbook The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.cake1We both enjoyed this cake, and despite the burnt looking edges it was a very moist and moreish cake. This cake would be lovely with a nice cream cheese frosting on top. I didn’t bother to ice it as I wanted to save a few calories for our eternal (half arsed) dieting quest. Plus the only cream cheese I had in my fridge was the low fat kind with garlic and herbs.

Its really annoying, I find that my oven makes all my cakes have a brown and sometimes dry crust. I have tried using both the fan and conventional settings, but I still get brown edges. I want to bake more photogenic looking cakes for my blog! Maybe I should clean the oven! A word of warning – if you ever come around my house for tea, my cakes taste better than they look, honest!

Ingedients
225g Self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g light brown sugar
75g sultanas (or nuts or choc chips etc. Its up to you, go crazy!)
100g grated parsnip (about 3-4 medium parsnips)
2 ripe bananas
2 medium eggs
150ml oil

Method

  • Grease and line a 20.5cm (8 inch) round baking tin
  • Sift flour and baking powder into your bowl or mixer bowl
  • Add the sugar, sultanas, parsnips, broken up bananas, eggs and oil.
  • Turn on you mixer or beat by hand or with a hand whisk until mixed together nicely.
  • Pour into tin.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180° for about 1 hour.
  • Cool, ice if you want, slice and enjoy.

cake2

Good Reads Part 1

Lets talk books baby. Big, beautiful books with big, beautiful, bootilicious, drool-some pictures in them.

I love non fiction books. Especially books about mid century modern design, interiors and architecture. The more pictures in them, the better if you ask me.

These days I rarely buy magazines, I prefer to pay a bit extra for a decent book that won’t end up in the recycling pile, that I can keep on my bookshelf (never on the coffee table!) and that I can browse through again and again. I like to source my books secondhand through Abebooks, Ebay, the Amazon Marketplace and charity shops because its the cheaper and greener option! (So then my books are not that much more expensive than most mags, honest!)

Here are some of my favourite books and recommendations for mid century freaks and geeks like me.book pile

Orla Kiely – Home

Rob got me this book for Xmas last year and I love it so much! It is a great introduction to the world of all things MCM, beautifully laid out with amazing photographs of Ms Kiely’s own personal favourite nick nacks, her lovely home products, her own home and plenty of other authentic mid century and gorgeous new build home tours that will give you a serious case of house envy.orla book

a random page of goodness I selected to badly photograph

A random page of goodness I selected to badly photograph!

 

Wayne Hemingway – Cocktail Shakers, Lava Lamps an Tupperware

This book is all about the less than stylish side of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. A look back at the mass market classic products that filled every British home back in the day, like sandwich toasters, furry toilet seat covers, kitschy art from Woolworths and much, much more! Its a laugh at the bad taste-goodness from the past! Please note that this is exactly the same book as Mass Market Classics, just with a different cover and title. However you can pick this version of the book up much cheaper through Amazon’s marketplace.

Just look at that cheesy cover - whats not to love!

Just look at that cheesy cover – whats not to love!

Mid Century Modern – Bradley Quinn

Another book that will make you want to go crazy with the credit card and fill your house with lovely stuff. My only criticism of this book is that the text is a little dull. Now, I am slightly obsessed with the subject matter, but even I found it a struggle to read. I managed to read it from cover to cover no less, and learnt a few things. So its all good. Buy it to look at the pictures again and again. And again.mcm book

Decorative Art 50’s – Charlotte and Peter Fiell

This book is like the Argos catalogue of mid century goodness. Read it and weep peeps! And thats my shit, uneducated book review for you!
No seriously, there is so much eye candy in this compilation of the The Studio Year Book of Decorative Art from Taschen. I have the 60’s version in my book collection and I would love the 70’s version to complete my collection. (HUGE BIRTHDAY HINT ALERT!)50's book

Case Study Houses – Elizabeth A T Smith

I love post war modernist architecture. Particularly American ranch homes. This book is a compact version of Taschen’s larger (and out of my book buying budget) special edition on the case study houses. Each house featured looks retro, yet still modern and is pretty much my dream house. Its unbelievable to think that some of these groundbreaking homes have been pulled down and no longer exist!

Tulip chair, swimming pool and a gorgeous house built around a tree - what a lucky couple on the cover!

Tulip chair, swimming pool and a gorgeous house built around a tree – what a lucky couple on the cover!

Cray Cray Prices On Ebay

A cute Pyrex piece I was watching on Ebay sold for a hell of a lot of money recently.

In fact, I have noticed that vintage Pyrex is reaching bonkers prices lately. Like over £50 for the rarer pieces! Crazy!

But this one selling for £159??!!!?? Madness! And it didn’t even have a stand!Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 19.00.00It seems there are some very rich people with money to burn who love Pyrex. All I can say is that I am glad it was a charity auction and a good cause has gained a very nice windfall!

This is NOT an April fools day joke BTW. This really happened!